The ovaries are connected to the uterus by the uterine tubes (fallopian tubes). The egg travels through the tube to the uterus.
Tubal ligation is surgery to tie the tubes (fallopian tubes) of a woman which causes permanent sterility by preventing transport of the egg (ovum) to the uterus. Tubal ligation may be recommended for adult women who are certain that they wish to prevent future pregnancies (permanent sterilization). Tubal ligation is not recommended as a temporary or reversible procedure.
Tubal ligation is done in the hospital while the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia). A small incision is made in the abdomen and a small telescope (laparoscope) is inserted. The tubes (fallopian tubes) are tied off and cut apart. The skin incision is stitched closed. The patient is able to return home within a few hours after the procedure.
Tubal ligation can be performed immediately after childbirth.
Most women recover with no problems. There are no tests required to verify sterility.
Most women are advised to avoid strenuous exercise for several days. Oral pain medications can usually manage the pain. Most women are able to return to work within a few days. Sexual intercourse can be resumed as soon as the patient feels ready (usually within a week).
Reviewed By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, WA; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.